The soldiers managed to destroy the swarm without any further incident and as one of them stood watch the other tended to their wounded colleague. I watched the battle transfixed but found myself becoming increasingly upset about everything that had happened up until now and before I really knew what I was doing I was crawling out from under the bush and screaming ‘Don’t shoot! Please don’t shoot!’ at the top of my voice. The soldiers all trained their guns on me and I gulped and closed my eyes. They’re going to shoot me, I thought.
One of the soldiers approached. His gun was pointed straight at my head. He motioned for me to kneel down and I did. A quick sweep of the light on the end of his gun revealed the others hiding under the bushes and he motioned to them to show themselves. Amber shot me a filthy look as she crawled out. Abe helped Ellis. Covering us all with his gun, the soldier spoke.
‘What are you doing here?’ he growled. ‘Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t shoot the lot of you.’
‘We’re not infected,’ I pleaded. ‘We’re not infected.’ I spoke rapidly and I was so scared that my jaw rattled.
‘I can see that,’ the soldier replied. ‘But you can’t be here. You need to get away from here. There is another huge swarm on its way.’
‘But I’ve lost my mum and we’ve nowhere to go,’ I said and began to cry. Amber stepped forward. She stood tall in front of the soldier.
‘What he means is that we are trying to survive by moving from place to place.’ She pointed at Ellis. ‘We are trying to get to St. Dunstan’s so that we can find her brother.’ The soldier shook his head.
‘You’ll not get that far,’ he said. ‘The place is thick with them. You’ll never get through.’ Ellis struggled to her feet.
‘But we’ve got to,’ she said. ‘My brother’s there and we have got find him.’ The soldier looked around.
‘We can’t stay here any longer,’ he said. ‘We’ve got to get to somewhere safe before the swarm get here.’ He looked at all of us. ‘Grab your stuff, we’re moving out.’
The soldier turned to his colleagues. Everyone got their stuff together. I could tell that Amber wasn’t too pleased with me. Abe was also a bit cool. Ellis, however, mouthed ‘Well done’ to me and this made me feel happier about the whole thing. The soldier had been bitten in the back of her calf and was limping badly. She struggled to her feet.
‘You can use the barrow,’ said Ellis. ‘I’ll walk.’ The soldiers placed their colleague into the barrow and one of them started to push.
‘There is an electricity sub-station near here,’ he said. ‘We set up our FOB there and we should be safe there until we can be evacuated.’